Nashville, TN - Amazon announced on Friday that it will join other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to require customers to wear masks while browsing its store.
Company spokesman Bob Roberts said, "We are taking this important step today because the well-being of our customers is our first priority and we want shoppers to have an equally safe experience in our store as they do in a brick and mortar business."
Roberts did not say how the online retailer will enforce the policy, but insiders suggest a new splash screen will pop up when customers open the page saying, "You must wear a mask to enter this store. Are you wearing a mask?"
Many fear the company will use the cameras on electronic devices or customers' Alexa units to monitor compliance. Roberts denied the claims, saying, "Amazon would never track or spy on its shoppers."
The announcement has left many customers confused as to why the online giant would require masks, but retail expert Jim Buffington says it makes perfect sense in some situations. Buffington gave the following explanation.
"You have to consider that a huge portion of Amazon orders are placed in public while customers are physically inside other retailers like Walmart or Best Buy. They try out the items in the real world and then they order them online while still in the store."
"The question is, in this case, which retailer are they actually customers of at the time they place the order? Amazon feels it is Amazon and it is their responsibility to ensure customers are taking health precautions at that moment while still in public."
Buffington could not explain the need for a mask while customers are home alone and Amazon did not respond to our request for comment.
The new mask policy will go into effect on Monday.
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